Quarterly Financial Report
For the quarter ended December 31, 2017

Statement outlining results, risks and significant changes in operations, personnel and program

1. Introduction

The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada (OIC) has prepared this quarterly report under section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act and in the form and manner prescribed by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. This report should be read in conjunction with the Main Estimates. It has not been subject to an external audit or review.

The OIC conducts efficient, fair and confidential investigations into complaints about federal institutions’ handling of access to information requests. The goal of these investigations is to maximize compliance with the Access to Information Act (ATIA) while fostering disclosure of public sector information. The Commissioner uses the full range of tools, activities and powers at her disposal, from mediation to persuasion and litigation, as required.

The OIC also supports the Commissioner in her advisory role to Parliament and parliamentary committees on all access to information matters. In delivering its mandate, the OIC promotes information rights and advocates a culture of openness to ensure government transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Further information on the OIC’s mandate, responsibilities and program activities can be found in the OIC’s Departmental Plan 2017-2018.

1.1. Basis of Presentation

This quarterly report was prepared on an expenditure basis. The accompanying Statement of Authorities includes the OIC's spending authorities granted by Parliament and those used by the OIC, consistent with the Main Estimates for 2017-2018. The authority of Parliament is required before money can be spent by federal organizations. Organizations receive annually approved expenditure limits through appropriation acts or through legislation in the form of statutory spending authority for specific purposes. In light of this, this report was prepared using a special purpose financial reporting framework designed to meet financial information needs related to the use of spending authorities.

The OIC uses the full accrual method of accounting to prepare and present the annual financial statements that are part of the departmental performance reporting process. However, the spending authorities voted by Parliament remain on an expenditure basis.

2. Highlights of Fiscal Quarter and Year-to-Date Results

The Statement of Authorities below shows that the OIC spent approximately 66% of its authorities for the current fiscal year 2017-2018. Because personnel expenses represent the majority of the overall expenditures, the spending is spread out equally over the year.

This statement also indicates a decrease in the Total Authorities of $1,425,000 when compared to the same period in 2016-2017. The net decrease is mainly due to:      

  • less temporary funding granted; and
  • a decrease to the employee benefit plans (EBP) rate from 17.2% to 15.7%.

As Table 1 indicates, the OIC’s total budgetary expenditures as of December 31, 2017 increased by an amount of $876,000 or 10.7% when compared to the expenditures reported for the same period in 2016-2017. The net increase is mainly attributable to:

  • an increase in personnel type expenditures related to staffing and retroactive payments following settlements of collective agreements;
  • an increase in professional and special services which includes temporary help services, legal services, management consulting and translation service requests related to fewer consultants hired; and
  • a decrease in acquisition of equipment due to purchases done in 2016-2017 for upgrading the network and servers as well as for renewing informatics equipment.

3. Risks and Uncertainties

In recent years, the growing numbers of access requests and the resulting number of complaints has led to a large increase in the OIC inventory of complaints (over 3,000) and consequently, to an unacceptable delay in being able to assign and complete the investigations of these complaints.

Although the Information Commissioner has reallocated and reorganized resources, outsourced services, and implemented continuous business process improvements, the OIC requires supplementary funding to avoid further increases in its inventory of complaints and to investigate the complaints it receives in a timely manner.

On June 19, 2017, the Government tabled Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. As of December 31, 2017, Bill C-58 passed Third Reading and was adopted by the House of Commons. If passed in its current form, this legislation may impact the OIC’s mandate and the number and nature of complaints.

The OIC continues to take actions to mitigate the issues arising with the implementation of the new Phoenix pay system for its employees and monitor closely any salary payments adjustments that may be required.

4. Significant changes in Operations, Personnel and Program

There were no significant changes in operations or program in the third quarter of 2017-2018.

Approved by:

 

Suzanne Legault
Information Commissioner of Canada

Layla Michaud, LL.LCPACMAMBA
Chief Financial Officer

Gatineau, Canada
December 31, 2017

 

Statement of Authorities (unaudited)

 

Fiscal year 2017–2018

Fiscal year 2016–2017

(In thousands of dollars)

Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2018* Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 Year to date used at quarter end Total available for use for the year ending March 31, 2017 Used during the quarter ended December 31, 2016 Year to date used at quarter end

Program expenditures

12,486

3,008

8,116

13,574

3,180

7,153

Budgetary statutory authorities – Employee benefit plans

1,248

312

936

1,585

341

1,023

Total Authorities

13,734

3,320

9,052

15,159

3,521

8,176

* Includes only authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end.

Table 1: Departmental Budgetary Expenditures by Standard Object (unaudited)

 

Fiscal year 2017–2018

Fiscal year 2016–2017

Expenditures
(In thousands of dollars)

Planned expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2018*

Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2017

Year to date used at quarter end

Planned expenditures for the year ending  March 31, 2017

Expended during the quarter ended December 31, 2016

Year to date used at quarter end

Personnel

9,434

2,455

6,996

10,640

2,626

6,207

Transportation and communications

163

43

122

148

46

101

Information

88

41

98

63

35

94

Professional and special services

3,673

830

1,590

3,711

748

1,393

Rentals

202

(47)

172

313

78

160

Repair and maintenance

19

5

19

3

4

Utilities, materials and supplies

68

23

39

61

21

39

Acquisition of land, buildings and works

-

19

Acquisition of machinery and equipment

87

5

10

204

54

142

Other subsidies and payments

(30)

20

(90)

17

Total Budgetary Expenditures

13,734

3,320

9,052

15,159

3,521

8,176

 

* Includes only authorities available for use and granted by Parliament at quarter-end.